Judicial independence

Every Canadian citizen must be able to depend on a justice system that is free from any outside interest or influence. This principle of independence concerns both the institution itself and those who apply its rules, i.e., the judges.

The foundation of our justice system

A fundamental principle is at the heart of the Canadian judicial system is its independence. The "separation of powers" guarantees Canadians that the legislative, executive and judicial powers in Canada will be autonomous and independent of each other. The legislature defines the law, the government ensures its application and the courts interpret it.

When a dispute is brought before the courts, both parties must be convinced that the judge will render a decision based only on the law and the evidence submitted. Judges must be completely impervious to any outside influence, whether governmental, political, family, organizational or other.

In short, judicial independence is essential for Canadians to have confidence in their justice system. We must be convinced that the judge will render a decision based on his or her conscience, in full respect of the oath of allegiance taken when the judge was appointed. Any breach of this fundamental principle may be reported to the Canadian Judicial Council.